The young Austrian-born artist based between Los Angeles and Berlin creative-directed the record, released on August 12, as well as Elfman’s 2021 album Big Mess. She led all visual elements of both releases and co-curated the lineup of remixers that would transform Elfman’s tracks on Bigger. Messier.
Gilma’s expertise in digital art and new technologies was pivotal for Elfman’s renaissance, helping him return to his artistic roots in alternative music while collaborating with underground and established artists alike. Best known for the new wave band Oingo Boingo and his TV and movie scoring work, Elfman’s uproarious, career-spanning set at Coachella, went viral earlier this year.
For the latest remix to drop from the new album, Gilma invited Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten) to rework “In Time,” bringing together two legends of alternative music for the first time as well as co-producing the track. Gilma conceived the collaboration after having returned to Berlin, where Bargeld lives, from Los Angeles during the COVID pandemic.
“We tried to bring exciting musicians on board to completely rethink Danny’s songs,” says Gilma. “Legends as well as contemporary, young artists from various genres. Living in Berlin for so long, I’ve always been a Einstürzende Neubauten admirer. As underground icons, they inspired the international music scene and many bands to come. Danny and Blixa are both true artistic souls. They both started with similar interests, and just due to their cultural contexts went very different journeys. By introducing them to each other, I thought something magical could happened – and it did.”
The striking video for “In Time” is inspired by Gilma and Elfman’s mutual fascination with AI systems in art. Gilma invited Italian AV artist LOREM to reinterpret the album’s visuals with artificial intelligence.
Says Gilma, “I have worked with LOREM before and love his art. Both Blixa and Danny were excited about the idea to let an artificial intelligence “dream” the video using the lyrics. The outcome is an endless moving pull through a dream-scape of an AI trying to make sense of what was given to it.”
Previously-released tracks from the album include noise-rapper GHOSTEMANE’s remix of “Native Intelligence,” by Elfman and Trent Reznor. Other remixers and collaborators include legends such as Iggy Pop, along with Squarepusher, Zach Hill (Death Grips), Boy Harsher, HEALTH, and many more.
Gilma thoroughly defined the aesthetic direction of Bigger. Messier. – her vision brought together a curated list of artists, who worked with cutting-edge technology such as 3D scanning, CGI, and artificial intelligence to digitally manipulate Danny’s body. Warping and twisting his form into something grotesque and sinister, the visuals are perfectly complimenting the rocker’s dark musical vision. These artworks were used on album covers, packaging, and as backing visuals during Elfman’s live performances.
Bigger. Messier. was released today. Watch the video for “In Time (feat. Blixa Bargeld)” here.
About Berit Gilma
Berit Gwendolyn Gilma has made a career out of chasing what lurks in the shadows. Born and raised in Austria, at 21 she moved to Berlin and quickly fell into the city’s underground scene. While exploring the German capital’s pulsating music and arts scene she befriended hacktivists and artists working on the bleeding edge of tech, criticizing pervasive global surveillance systems. She holds a BA degree from the University of the Arts Berlin, where she studied New Media Arts under celebrated Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.
Her path diverged in 2016 when she met world-famous Hollywood composer and musician Danny Elfman. They bonded over a shared interest in the weirder side of pop culture, and after earning a Fulbright Scholarship and moving to Los Angeles to pursue an MFA at the UCLA Design Media Arts Department, she became Elfman’s creative director. As he prepared to re-enter the music industry after a long hiatus as a solo artist, Elfman turned to Gilma as a collaborator. She provided creative and art direction for Elfman’s album Big Mess, introducing him to contemporary digital artists and new technologies such as 3D scanning and artificial intelligence to produce cutting edge visuals that were used throughout the album art and music videos. Her latest project with Elfman is the remix album Bigger. Messier., for which she co-curated a lineup of legendary collaborators including Iggy Pop, Trent Reznor, Blixa Bargeld and exciting young talents like Ghostemane, HEALTH, Boy Harsher and many others.
In her artistic work Gilma has explored the aesthetics of secrecy. Her MFA degree examined the intersection of art and science, and she has also studied at the New School in New York and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She often returns home to Graz as the art curator of the city’s Elevate Festival, a destination for contemporary art and electronic music. What unites all of Berit Gilma’s activities is a sensitivity for the dark arts, carving for herself a unique niche where sound and vision merge at the forefront of technology.
Photo: Sven Gutjahr